Time to Move Some Weight!
I will admit that I was originally planning on documenting my mass phase plans on my youtube channel but sometimes it is much easier to articulate and explain yourself via text, so here we are. I will also be including pictures of my schedule so my written blog seems to be the appropriate choice.
Why Build Mass?
First of all, let me explain why I wish to put on a bit of mass. I really do not have any problems with my body size/type as it is, in fact I am quite comfortable with how I look and feel, but sometimes it is nice to change things up. On top of that, since I am a trainer myself, I enjoy using myself as a guinea pig sometimes to test out some of my own theories/teachings that I can then share with others.
I essentially have 1 day remaining in my P90X2 schedule. This program has been great in increasing my athletic performance and core stability, but I feel I have lost a bit of strength and size along the way. I am certainly not complaining as a trade-off for increased sports performance generally means a leaner, quicker, more agile body anyways.
Let's not forget that the human body would much rather be streamlined in order to not only improve survival traits, but having fast, efficient, but smaller muscles also carries over well into the sports world. Your body basically doesn't wish to carry around any more weight than it needs to.
Which brings me back to my original point...what's the point? Well, I would be lying if I said that I don't wish to look good. Let's face it, almost any guy (and some girls too) that exercise and workout, wish to grow their muscles. Plus, I am in my twenties still, which is a great decade for muscle growth, so I might as well try and get, while the gettin's good!
Small disclaimer here, however. I do not wish to ever look like that gentleman at the top of this blog. Not that there is anything wrong with his physique, but that takes extreme dedication along with, *ahem*, additional help. Without further ado, let's jump into the schedule.
My schedule will be a total of 9 weeks long - or 2 'blocks' of 4-week phases, separated by a transition week. All of my workouts come from either the P90X series, P90X+ series, or Tony Horton's 1 on 1 series. Many of these workouts have modifications to them as my goals are different than the videos are intended.
Day 1 - Chest & Back (modified) - Rep Goal: 8-12 reps
Day 2 - Super Cardio or Kenpo Cardio Plus (alternating weeks)
Day 3 - Core Day*
Day 4 - Diamond Delts and Just Arms - Rep Goal: 8-10 reps
Day 5 - Yoga**
Day 6 - Upper Plus - Rep Goal: 12-15+ reps
Day 7 - Off/Recovery
*Core day will consist of a rotating pattern of Beachbody core workouts that I have paired together. They are: Iso Abs/Ab Ripper X, X2 Ab Ripper/20-12 Abs, Killer Abs/Cardio Abs. I have designated a specific 'core day' so that I can attack my core more intensely for 1 complete day rather than short ab routines after resistance days. Not only that, but I can then also spend more focus and energy on my resistance workouts.
**Yoga will consist of whichever yoga routine I feel like doing on that given day. I may also turn this into a stretch/recovery day with foam rolling based on my tired/sore I am.
My Chest & Back modification - I will record this routine and put it on my youtube channel so that those interested can either follow along or take ideas from it. It is loosely based on Chest & Back from P90X, but I will be using additional weight for pushups as well as adding in some dumbbell bench press variations. My rep range will be aimed at the 8-12 rep range, specifically targeted for muscle hypertrophy (growth) of type-2 muscle fibers (fast-twitch).
My day 2 or cardio day will be very light for a reason. The intention here is to not necessarily gain any cardio stamina, but to increase blood flow to improve recovery from the previous day's resistance routine. In order to maximize strength and hypertrophy gains, cardio routines should be kept fairly minimal anyways.
Diamond Delts and Just Arms - This is one of my favorite workout combinations. Both routines run about 45 minutes, so by the end of the 90 minutes or so, my shoulders, biceps, triceps, and forearms are annihilated. These routines will be completed essentially as-is. They are structured around more standard weightlifting routines so I will not be making any modifications. I will aim for 8-10 reps on almost every exercise, except for some of the more 'fine-tuning' exercises on the shoulder's rotator cuff, and the forearm exercises, those I will be aiming for 12+ repetitions.
Upper Plus - Many of you may be wondering why this workout is here during a mass phase. While days 1 and 4 are aimed at type-2 muscle fiber hypertrophy, Upper Plus will be aimed at type-1 muscle fiber hypertrophy. Type-1 muscle fibers do not have as much potential for growth as type-2 muscle fibers, but they can still grow a little. Not only that, but by lightening my resistance, and increasing my repetition range within the same week, it allows me to grow much more well-rounded and strong muscles. Another bonus here is that this will somewhat act as a 2nd cardio routine for my week as I will be aiming for 12-15+ repetitions per exercise with little break, so my heart rate will be increasing while working my muscles!
I am not working my legs directly in Phase 1 because I will be giving them a bit of a break while still 'coasting' from my gains made during P90X2. I will begin to work my legs again in Phase 2 which will lead me into future plans.
Day 1 - X2 Core
Day 2 - X2 Recovery & Mobility (foam rolling)
Day 3 - Asylum's Back to Core
Day 4 - X2 Yoga
Day 5 - Insanity's Cardio Recovery
Day 6 - X2 Recovery & Mobility (foam rolling)
Day 7 - Off
Pretty simply recovery/transition week here. The main focus being just that - recovery! Some days I may add some very light cardio based on how the weather is, as I may be able to get outside for a short, easy run.
Day 1 - P90X Back & Biceps - Rep Goal: 8-10 reps
Day 2 - UBX (modified) (Chest, Shoulders & Tricep) - Rep Goal: 12-15+ reps
Day 3 - Plyo Legs***
Day 4 - Core Day*
Day 5 - V Sculpt (Back & Biceps) - Rep Goal: 12-15+ reps
Day 6 - P90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (modified) - Rep Goal: 8-10 reps
Day 7 - Off/Recovery
Plyo Legs - I will be doing this routine for 4-straight weeks, each week with a little bit more resistance via a weighted vest. My goal here is to not necessarily increase the size of my legs, but to increase leg strength.
I cover the entire upper body twice each week, both with lower rep ranges (type-2 hypertrohpy), and higher rep ranges (type-1 hypertrophy). The higher rep-range workouts also act as 'somewhat-cardio' days as this is circuit training with higher rep counts and shorter breaks, inherently increasing my heart rate.
For those of you familiar with UBX and P90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, I will be filming my modifications to these routines when I do them and putting them on youtube as well for your interest.
Ah, yes, diet. The make-or-break piece of any health and fitness puzzle. As the saying goes, "You can't out-work a bad diet!" This applies to mass phases as well for those looking to put on some muscle because if you don't eat enough (or the right stuff) you are not going to get the results you want!
I have done some research on this and have found many different theories as to what works best for building mass based on your macronutrient ratios. I have decided that I will aim for 40-50% carbohydrates, 25-30% protein, and 25-30% fats. I will actually be trying to keep my carbs as low and as close to the 40% mark as possible, but when increasing calories the way you need to in order to build mass, carbs are generally an easy way to get your calories up.
I will try and keep my carbohydrates as 'clean' as possible - no white or refined sugars, only minimal whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables.
There is no real way for me to post exactly what I plan on eating on a day-to-day basis as of yet because my caloric numbers may and will change from a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. Instead, I will work away on my diet, and if I end up with results that I like, I can post more diet details at the end of the 9 weeks.
I will be supplementing with creatine. I will start with a 'loading phase' during the first 7 days of 20g/day (4 x 5mg doses). I will then continue with a 'maintenance phase' of approximately 4-5g/day for the remainder of the schedule. Creatine will be taken every single day, even on 'off' days to keep muscle stores topped up.
As of right now, at the end of P90X2, I am sitting at 170lbs even. I will be aiming to gain around 0.5-1 pound of mass per week. The first week, I am anticipating a pretty quick weight gain because of the creatine loading and water retention, but the gaining will then slow. All in all, I am hoping to gain about 5-9lbs of lean, muscle mass.
The reason this mass phase is only 9 weeks in total is so that I can complete a full 13-week schedule in preparation for my Warrior Dash in July. I can post details about that schedule later, but you can expect it to include P90X2 combined with Insanity: Asylum! Stay tuned...
***UPDATE*** End of Phase 1 results here
***UPDATE*** Final Results can be found here
Photo 1: http://gaintruthmuscle.blogspot.com/2011_03_01_archive.html